Did you know that the average high school student spends about one-sixth of their total waking hours in the classroom? That's one-sixth of your life spent walking the same hallways, inhaling the same cafeteria smells, and staring longingly out the window at the same scenery. If you aren't eager to chuck your mortarboard into the air and step right into another institution for four years, we can't blame you!
The world is much bigger than campus, and this moment might be your last chance to explore it without worrying about other obligations. Once you've decided to take a break, one question remains: what to do during a gap year?
Your gap year has the potential to be more educational and impactful than any semester of college. Many students discover new passions, explore foreign cultures, gain impressive work experience, and develop a firmer understanding of who they are as people. When they finally step on campus, they're wiser, more confident, and prepared to take on the world.
We've created this guide to share our favorite gap year ideas and inspiration. Your best year ever starts here! Keep reading to begin planning your adventure.
What To Do During a Gap Year?
1. Take Your Gap Year To Volunteer
Whether you stay home or travel the globe, our world is full of people and animals who could use a helping hand. If you're unsure what to do in a gap year, you can never go wrong with volunteering your time and abilities. It's a rewarding and generous way to learn about new communities, develop skills, and learn more about what truly matters.
If you're sick of your hometown, consider voluntourism. Take a trip to a place that fascinates you and volunteer throughout the country. Spend half your time seeing the touristy sights and the other half engaging with the community that calls that beautiful place home. Specially designed gap Year Programs make the process super easy for you by having the best partnerships abroad already in place.
Often, volunteers can develop new practical skills that might come in handy in other areas of their life. Students who volunteer to build houses in climate-impacted communities will learn their way around a construction site. Volunteers at a soup kitchen will leave knowing what goes into feeding a crowd!
2. Explore Your Future With an Internship
Why would you spend four years with your nose in a book when you could get hands-on training in your future field today? Future CEOs can spend their gap year completing an internship. You'll gain valuable workplace experience, build your resume, meet professional contacts, and learn more about what you want (or don't want) to do with your life.
There's no need to stay home and work a fast food job to gain valuable work experience. Companies offer high school and college internships across the globe. You can spend a year or semester in a new city, experiencing work culture and exploring your professional strengths.
Internships look impressive on a CV and often yield notable references for future employment opportunities. You can use the work you complete to build a portfolio and end up far ahead of your peers. Embrace your fate - English 101 can wait!
3. Immerse Yourself in a Foreign Language
You've spent four or more years studying French or Spanish in a classroom, but have you ever had the opportunity to speak it? When it comes to languages, it's "use it or lose it!" Now is the perfect time to take a gap year and go to France or Spain - put those years of conjugation homework to good use!
When surrounded by native speakers, you'll find yourself immersed in the language. Many experts say immersion is the best way to learn. You'll fill in your language gaps, learn new vocabulary, and get closer to achieving fluency.
Many countries allow international students to teach English in a language exchange program. You might be able to stay with a host family to have a more authentic international experience.
4. Expand Your World With a Gap Year Program
Is all of this gap year inspo getting you excited? Are you even more confused about what to do now that you have so many brilliant ideas in your head? Let a gap year program provider like Pacific Discovery help you plan the perfect gap year getaway, packed with a mix of all the above and more!
Gap Year Programs forge connections with groups worldwide, curating an engaging selection of fully-immersive, authentic international experiences. You'll work on service projects, learn about the local culture, and build new professional skills in a stunning location. You'll explore the wilderness and participate in thrilling, hands-on adventures.
Our students travel in small groups, and your fellow travelers will quickly become new friends for life. You'll gain hands-on leadership experience and learn to communicate and collaborate with others. All these skills translate to the classroom or the workplace, equipping you with all you need to succeed upon your return.
Best of all, Pacific Discovery has made a commitment to ethical and sustainable travel, so you'll walk softly on the earth throughout your travels. By the end of the program, our students will be more compassionate citizens of the world.
There's No Limit to What to Do During a Gap Year
Whether you're a thrill seeker, a future entrepreneur, a do-gooder, or a life-long learner, this gap year inspiration should excite you. If you're still unsure what to do during a gap year, consider doing a mix of everything! A gap year program can help you discover who you are.
During your gap year, you'll enjoy cultural immersion, service learning, educational opportunities, and epic adventure! Our students enter the program as high school graduates and leave as engaged, worldly leaders. Apply now and become the person you're supposed to be.